Joe Satriani: What Happens Next Review

Every time that I hear a new album by Joe Satriani I’m reminded of why I love the sounds of an electric guitar so much and What Happens Next is no exception. The new release hits the streets on January 12, 2018, the day after he begins his G3 tour in Seattle, Washington. The new album is a power trio, comprised of Satriani, bassist Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple/ Black Country Communion) and drummer Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers). Producer/engineer/mixer Mike Fraser, who Satriani has collaborated with over the past 20 years put it all together.

What Happens Next is Satriani’s 16th studio albums, released on Sony/Legacy, over a career that spans thirty years. Four of those albums went gold and two went platinum to sell over ten million copies and be nominated for fifteen Grammys. Joe grew up in Long Island, New York and worked his way through the piano and drums before he settled on guitar as his instrument of expression. Since Satriani released Surfing With The Alien in 1989 the musical world has gone through a transformation and Joe has transformed with it. His G3 tour started twenty years ago on the premise that music audiences love great guitar players.

What Happens Next follows 2015’s Shockwave Supernova album and involved a conceptual change in its approach. Rather than maintaining the alien persona of the past, Satriani has embraced his earthbound humanity and the songs emanate from the “emotions, dreams, and hopes” found therein. Satriani reunited with longtime friend Glenn Hughe and drummer Chad Smith who was his bandmate in “Chickenfoot,” to hammer out some emotionally driven sonic explorations into the human psyche without the advantage of entheogens.

The album is comprised of twelve cuts: “Energy,” screaming Peter Green “Fleetwood Mac” blues rock, “Catbot,”which has deep bass notes yielding to a plethora of instrumental interpretations. “Thunder High On The Mountain” exudes visions of grandeur and splendor as guitar notes explode into infinity. “Cherry Blossoms” begins with Smith’s dominant drums and soon resonated with clean sounding guitar runs. “Righteous,” has a pure and clean guitar dominant sound that exudes joy. “Smooth Soul” is a Santana inspired guitar excursion behind the third eye. “Headrush” is an Alvin Lee fast fingered frolic in sonic heaven that dives into the depth of the spirit and outward into infinity. “Looper” is a sonic boogie keeping time to an insane excursion into the sound of throbbing, pulsating, screaming instruments, allowing full interplay between. “What Happens Next” is the title song from the album and Satriani explores that question through guitar changes. “Super Funky Badass” has a throbbing beat with a dominant guitar moving up and down the octave scale as the sound is squeezed until it screams. “Invisible” dives into the depths to get a good foothold to ascend into the stratosphere and “Forever and Ever” is a beautiful Hendrixian composition that allows Satriani to play his instrument like it was as natural as breathing.

The Review: 9/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Cherry Blossoms
– Righteous
– Headrush
– Invisible
– Forever and Ever

The Big Hit

– Righteous

Review by Bob Gersztyn

Buy the album: Amazon | Amazon UK

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2 Responses to “Joe Satriani: What Happens Next Review”

  1. Pete says:

    Also cannot Miss

    Thunder High On The Mountain

    that give chill every time !!!!!

  2. Andy says:

    Saw Satch live in Brisbane last night with Mike Keneally and his drummer and Bass player.
    It was a great concert with Joe playing some new and old stuff.
    Mike can really jam with Joe too and can hold his own agains any player.
    Goes to show you that age doesnt slow down these boys…

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